I Teach College Courses on Death — and Love It!

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2017-10-09T16:10:45+00:00 February 9, 2017|Highline Voices, News|

I Teach College Courses on Death — and Love It!

  • Photo of Bob Baugher Highline Voices

By Dr. Bob Baugher

Where were you on Feb. 4, 1975? Were you not yet born? I was preparing to leave my home to teach a course in general psychology at Fort Lewis Army base when my phone rang. It was my mother screaming, “Your father’s in the hospital! He’s dying!”

Shocked, I jumped in my car. I arrived at Harborview hospital to see my four younger brothers and sisters and my mother, wide-eyed, sitting in the emergency room. I discovered that my 52-year-old father suffered a stroke and would likely not survive. By 2 a.m. he had stabilized enough for us to go home. With tears in her eyes, my mother asked me to see about setting up a funeral for my father.

There I was the next day driving to a funeral home in West Seattle saying to myself, “I have a master’s degree in psychology. I’m supposed to know something about human behavior, but I haven’t a clue about death, grief or loss, let alone funeral plans.” Looking back on that day, I had no idea it would set me on a path that defined my career. My father surprised everyone by coming out of a month-long coma, learning to walk again and living another 28 years. …

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This article was originally published in the print edition of the Federal Way Mirror on February 3, 2017.

About the Author

Dr. Bob Baugher has been teaching psychology and death-related courses for more than 40 years. The author of several self-published books on grief, he has given more than 800 workshops on coping with loss. Everyone who has met him knows that, although his favorite classes are about death, he loves life.

About Highline Voices

Highline Voices brings a range of diverse perspectives to our community, featuring the expertise of Highline College staff and faculty. Read other articles in the Highline Voices series that began in 2016. All Highline employees are welcome to contribute to the series. Email Tanya Powers or Kari Coglon Cantey for guidelines.